Cohen’s re-debut brings no relief for Betar

Jerusalem can’t buy a win under ‘new’ coach, play Mac TA to 0-0 draw at Teddy.

February 21, 2012 04:55
2 minute read.

BETAR JERUSALEM’S Barak Moshe 390. (photo credit: Asaf Kliger)

New coach, same old problems.

Betar Jerusalem’s barren spell reached four matches on Monday night after it could only manage a 0-0 draw against Maccabi Tel Aviv at Teddy Stadium in Eli Cohen’s first game in charge of the yellow-and-black since replacing Yuval Naim last week.

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Betar had a couple of chances to break the deadlock in the first half, but the fact its goalkeeper Ariel Harush was named as man of the match pretty much says it all.

Maccabi dominated after the break, but somehow failed to find the back of the net, with the yellow-and- blue’s entire frontline once more guilty of wastefulness in front of goal.

Jerusalem remains in 13th place following the draw, just two points off Hapoel Beersheba and the relegation zone.

Cohen, who began his third tenure at Betar on Monday, will have to find some solution to his team’s impotence, with Jerusalem failing to find the back of the net for over a month now – including in one State Cup match – and scoring just 16 goals in its 26 games so far this season, 10 fewer than any other side in the Premier League.

“I’m happy with the point,” said Cohen, who at least saw Betar snap its three-match losing streak on Monday.

“We are one of the bottom teams in the league and the players need to internalize this. Maccabi dominated the second half, but the key is to stop conceding the silly goals we did earlier this season and we did that tonight.

“We had to stop the rot. This point is priceless and I believe that with a lot of luck we will stay in the league.”

Betar got the match off to an encouraging start, pressuring Tel Aviv and reaching a good opportunity in the 14th minute, with Maccabi ’keeper Guy Haimov doing well to save Steven Cohen’s header.

However, the hosts lost all impetus in the second half and Harush had to be at his best to keep Maccabi at bay.

Former Betar striker Barak Itzhaki wasted a golden opportunity three minutes into the second half, with Eliran Atar, Munas Dabbur and Moshe Lugasi all also squandering chances to give Maccabi its first win in five matches.

“We were the better team in the second half, but once more we weren’t composed in front of goal and failed to win a match we deserved to,” Tel Aviv coach Nir Levine said.

Harush was happy with his performance, but knows a significant improvement is still required.

“The most important thing is that we didn’t lose,” the goalkeeper said.

“We didn’t play well tonight, but compared to our previous matches we were really good.”

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